Reserve 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the oats for topping. In food processor, grind 2 cups (500 mL) of the remaining oats until fine. Set aside.
Sprinkle remaining oats evenly over rimmed baking sheet; toast in 350ºF (180ºC) oven for 20 minutes, stirring once. Let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in small bowl, whisk together 1 cup (250 mL) of the flour, the warm water and yeast; let stand until frothy, about 15 minutes.
In large bowl, whisk together ale, skim milk powder, sugar and salt. Whisk in yeast mixture. Stir in 3 cups (750 mL) of the flour and ground and toasted oats. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make slightly sticky dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, adding any remaining flour if dough is sticking, Place in greased bowl, turning to grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down dough; cut in half. Pat each half into 11 x-8-inch (28 cm x 20 cm) rectangle. Starting at narrow end, roll up into cylinder; pinch along bottom to smooth and seal. Fit into 2 greased 8 x-4-inch (1.5 L) loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Brush loaves lightly with water; sprinkle with reserved oats.
Bake in centre of 375ºF (190ºC) oven until golden and loaves sound hollow when tapped on bottom, about 40 minutes.
Yield: 2 loaves